Major-General Sir Frederick Carrington spent the greater part of his service in South Africa. He was born 23rd August 1844, . Educated at Cheltenham College before joining the 24th Regiment (South Wales Borderers) on 4th May 1864 as an Ensign. In 1875 career took a move forward when the 1st Battalion of the "old 24th" had just been moved to the Cape from Gibraltar. He was a subaltern and there was a requirement for someone to organize and command a corps of local mounted men for service in the Diamond Fields, where difficulties had arisen. Carrington volunteered his services that were readily accepted and it was here that he laid the foundation of his reputation. After two years he had formed, and was at the head of, "Carrington's Horse," on the occasion of the annexation of the Transvaal. In the Kaffir War of 1877, in the Transkei, he for the third time raised a mounted corps, namely the Frontier Light Horse, and was highly complimented. In the operations against the native chief Sekukuni, in 1878-79, he commanded the Transvaal Volunteers, and as he was so highly rated, he was entrusted the charge of the advanced guard and the left attack on the occasion of the capture of the stronghold. He was then given the brevet of Major and Lieutenant-Colonel, and made a C.M.G., and at the same time chosen to command the whole of the local forces in the Cape Colony. He gained field experience during the period November 1880 to March, 1881, when he commanded the Cape Mounted Riflemen, the corps he had been instrumental in raising against the Basutos when that warlike people were endeavouring to "make it hot" for the Boers. During these operations he was severely wounded, but did not give up his command, and for this reason his "gallantry, organising ability and wonderful resourcefulness" were brought to the notice of the Colonial Office.

He next took the field with Sir Charles Warren's Expedition to Bechuanaland in 1884-85, this time as Commandant of the 2nd Mounted Rifles. Sir Charles Warren formed the highest opinion of his abilities as a leader, and he placed on record his estimate of his worth.

He was promoted Colonel and during the troubles in Zululand in 1888 he was at the head of the Native Levies, who, it was said at the time, would have followed him "even to destruction, without a murmur," such was their belief in him. In May, 1894, he was promoted a Major-General, and a year later was appointed to the command of the Infantry Brigade at Gibraltar. The native difficulty in Rhodesia called him back to South Africa in April, 1896, when he was entrusted with the direction of military operations, with what success has been shown conclusively during the last nine months. He took over command of the troops in the Belfast District in March, 1899, and during this period was ordered to proceed yet again to South Africa.

First receiving an appointment on the lines of communication, he was immediately afterwards given the command of 5,000 Cavalry (including an Australian contingent numbering 2,500), and landing at Beira, carried on operations in Rhodesia.

He was invested as a Knight Commander, Order of the Bath (K.C.B.) and as a Knight Commander, Order of St. Michael and St. George (K.C.M.G.). He married Susan Margaret Elwes, daughter of Henry John Elwes and Margaret Susan Lownes-Stone, on 18th November 1897. They had one daughter, Frederica Dorothy Violet Carrington. He died 23rd March 1913.

Extract from "British Commanders in the Transvaal War 1899-1900" published by W.D. & H.O. Wills Ltd:


Founder of the famous regiment of "Carrington's Horse," was born in 1844. After a course of education at Cheltenham College he entered the Army in 1864. Whilst Commanding the Light Horse he showed great ability during the Transkei War of 1877-78. Since then he has been repeatedly fighting in South Africa. The regiment of horse, already referred to, accomplished excellent work against the native chief Sekukim, in the Transvaal, 1878-9. In the Zulu War, the Boer War of 1881, Matabele War, 1893, and the Rhodesian Rebellion, General Carrington ably fulfilled his responsible appointments, at the same time gaining great knowledge of the country and the fighting methods of the natives which must now prove of great service to him. He received the command of Belfast District last year.

It was not until the middle of January that Major-General Carrington's offer of service was accepted by the War Office, and this delayed-acceptance has called forth much criticism in military circles. His department of service is on the line of communications.

Last updated 5 February, 2009
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